NBA, NHL teams back in uniform as they prepare for July restart


The NFL doesn’t anticipate any delays coming ahead of the regular-season kickoff this September, which is good news for football fans as they will have essentially not been forced into withdrawal due to a season suspension. Fans of other sports haven’t been as lucky, though, as the coronavirus pandemic brought NBA, NHL and MLB action, among others, to a grinding halt in March. While MLB owners and players are still locked in a staring contest, waiting to see who will blink first, other leagues have taken the high road and are ready to get their action going once again. The NBA and the NHL have announced that they expect to be able to hold contests starting in July, and players of both organizations are now back in uniform getting warmed up.

nba,-nhl-teams-back-in-uniform-as-they-prepare-for-july-restartThis past Monday, NHL teams were given the green light to open their facilities to players so they could begin working out. Additionally, several NBA teams have unlocked their doors, as well, allowing players to get on the courts in voluntary exercise and training programs. Between the two leagues, there is a mixture of responses to the restart, with some teams ready to embrace their sport, while others are either treading lightly or not restarting at all.

The NHL would love to see everyone back on the ice ahead of the planned season restart next month. However, it isn’t possible across the board due to ongoing policies that have been implemented to keep COVID-19 from making a rebound. For example, the Vancouver Canucks are extremely shorthanded, as many players are currently out of the country. To get back into Canada, anyone arriving has to be ready to undergo a two-week quarantine, so these players won’t be able to put their jerseys back on until the month starts to close.

That is going to make things a little more difficult for certain hockey players as the league rolls into July. According to the current plan, team training and workout camps are expected to get going on July 10, with 24 teams making their way to two cities in order to play a modified season ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Three months in isolation and only a couple of weeks to prepare will put some teams at a disadvantage in the competitions.

The NBA is headed to Disney World in Orlando, thanks to a massive partnership that can be linked to the theme park, the league and ESPN. 22 teams will descend upon the city at the end of July to compete in a modified playoff structure to bring some semblance of order to the 2019-20 basketball season. In preparation for the trip, some teams, like the San Antonio Spurs and others, are holding voluntary workouts at their training facilities as of this week, a good sign that, on some level, things are starting to return to normal.